Two Years Later, No Real Progress On Marijuana [VIDEO]
Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of the legalization of medical marijuana in New Jersey. To honor the occasion, medical marijuana advocates gathered in Trenton, urging officials on every level to put a spark in the process so chronically-ill patients can have access to the drug.
In July of 2011, Governor Chris Christie jumped on board with New Jersey's involvement in medical marijuana and directed the health department to "move forward as expeditiously as possible" with the implementation of the program. However, still not one Alternative Treatment Center has opened its doors, and less than one-percent of licensed New Jersey physicians has registered to prescribe marijuana for deserving patients.
"Patients are still being arrested, still being tried, still being convicted for using medical marijuana on the advice of a doctor," explained Ken Wolski with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey.
Much of the blame for the delay, recently, has been placed on local officials. Zoning boards across the state have denied proposals for sites to grow and dispense pot.
Jay Lassiter of Cherry Hill, who suffers from HIV, delivered a strong message at the State House for local officials.
"Your town is broke, my town is broke, New Jersey is broke," Lassiter exclaimed. "Here's an opportunity to have something in your community which is actually going to help people and generate revenue."
A stage-3 breast cancer patient was also on hand for the cause. Vanessa Waltz of Princeton said she prefers a natural herb over the narcotics she is currently taking.
Late last year, Governor Chris Christie predicted the medical marijuana program would begin its official run at some point in 2012.
Video by Dino Flammia